What Is a Car Relay Switch?

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A car relay is an electromagnetic switch that allows a person to run a higher current application than that which would normally exceed the capacity of a standard toggle switch. Discover how the relay is closed to allow current to flow between pins with help from an auto mechanic in this free video on car repairs.

Part of the Video Series: Auto Repair & Mechanics
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Video Transcript

What is a car relay? A car relay is an electromagnetic switch that allows you to run a higher current application that would normally exceed the capacity of a standard toggle switch. If you were to look inside of a relay, you would find a small coil that is actuating the actual connector on the relay. And when voltage is applied to that coil, it closes the relay and allows current to flow between the pins. Typically an automotive relay is rated for thirty to forty amps which is significantly higher than most switches and it also has less current drain than your typical switch, so it's more efficient. You can test relays quite easily with a multimeter and a twelve volt power source and you would typically use a relay for wiring headlights or fog lights, radio, anything that would require a switch voltage amount.

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